Thursday, after more than two years of fighting a pandemic and still achieving record-breaking economic success, Gov. Andy Beshear announced that Executive Cabinet Secretary J. Michael Brown and Interim Economic Development Cabinet Secretary Larry Hayes will retire from state government and thanked them for their guidance.
“I am forever grateful for the guidance and friendship I have received from Michael. His leadership while I served both as attorney general and as Governor has been invaluable to me, my family and everyone on Team Kentucky,” Beshear said. “Simmons College has made a great decision to hire Michael to mentor the next generation of students and help shape the future at our state’s only private HBCU. We congratulate Michael and his family on this next phase in their lives.”
John Hicks will step into the role of Governor’s executive cabinet secretary while continuing to serve as state budget director. The Governor named Jeff Noel as the new secretary of the Cabinet for Economic Development.
Gov. Beshear said that Secretary Brown has helped lead the executive branch through some of the most trying times in recent history, as the commonwealth faced a once-a-century pandemic and multiple natural disasters, including flooding, ice storms and the deadliest tornadoes in the history of the commonwealth.
“My decision to leave private practice and join state government in 2007 under Gov. Steve Beshear was an easy one. After eight years as the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet secretary, I was given the opportunity to serve another Beshear. First in the Office of the Attorney General and now as the secretary of the Executive Cabinet,” Brown said. “Leaving Andy Beshear’s administration is a difficult decision but is one that was prompted by a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to join President Kevin Cosby at Simmons. I can think of no better use of my experience and training than to help to prepare the careers of the young students at our only private HBCU.”